This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Introduction to Career Skills
This section of Mind Tools looks at tools and approaches you can use to manage your career successfully. It starts with five articles which help you think about career direction. These tools help you uncover what you do best and identify the types of work that you’ll enjoy doing most. From this, you can figure out how to make the most of your skills and preferences, whether in your current role or in a new one. Amongst these, our article on Personal SWOT Analysis shows you how you can apply the wellknown SWOT strategy tool to your life and career, helping you identify your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities open to you and the threats you face. This leads naturally into the idea of job crafting. This is something that many of us do subconsciously to some extent, but our article gives you a rigorous approach that you can use to craft your ideal job. Our next group of articles help you to develop your career in various ways. We show you what you can be doing now to future proof your careerand to get ready for promotion. And if you’re frustrated because your hard work and abilities are going unnoticed, find out how to get the recognition you deserve. Of course, despite your best efforts and preparation, careers don’t always go to plan, especially in a volatile economic climate. So we show you how to live with a lack of job security and how to cope with life after job loss. Yet even when the economy’s booming, you can still face challenging career situations such as hitting a “glass ceiling”. Find out what you can do to break through these! We round off this section with two articles that will help you transition through significant events in your career. First, we look at what you can do when you get a new boss, and then we see how to wrap up in one role before moving on.
Personal SWOT Analysis :Making the Most of Your Talents and Opportunities.
"Chance – Louis Pasteur
You are most likely to succeed in life if you use your talents to their fullest extent. Similarly, you'll suffer fewer problems if you know what your weaknesses are, and if you manage these weaknesses so that they don't matter in the work you do.
So how you go about identifying these strengths and weaknesses, and analyzing the opportunities and threats that flow from them? SWOT Analysis is a useful technique that helps you do this. What makes SWOT especially powerful is that, with a little thought, it can help you uncover opportunities that you would not otherwise have spotted. And by understanding your weaknesses, you can manage and eliminate threats that might otherwise hurt your ability to move forward. If you look at yourself using the SWOT framework, you can start to separate yourself from your peers, and further develop the specialized talents and abilities you need to advance your career.
How to Use the Tool
To perform a personal SWOT analysis, print out our free worksheet, and write down answers to the questions in each area below.
• • • • • • •
What advantages do you have that others don't have (for example, skills, certifications, education, or connections)? What do you do better than anyone else? What personal resources can you access? What do other people (and your boss, in particular) see as your strengths? Which of your achievements are you most proud of? What values do you believe in that others fail to exhibit? Are you part of a network that no one else is involved in? If so, what connections do you have with influential people?
Consider this from your own perspective, and from the point of view of the people around you. And don't be modest or shy – be as objective as you can. And if you have any difficulty with this, write down a list of your personal characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths! You can also learn more about identifying your strengths in our article on "Your Reflected Best Self™".
Tip: Think about your strengths in relation to the people around you. For example, if you're a great mathematician and the people around you are also great at math, then this is not likely to be a strength in your current role – it may be a necessity.
• • • •
What tasks do you usually avoid because you don't feel confident doing them? What will the people around you see as your weaknesses? Are you completely confident in your education and skills training? If not, where are you weakest? What are your negative work habits (for example, are you often late, are you disorganized, do you have a short temper, or are you poor at handling stress? Do you have personality traits that hold you back in your field? For instance, if you have to conduct meetings on a regular basis, a fear of public speaking would be a major weakness.
Again, consider this from a personal/internal perspective and an external perspective. Do other people see weaknesses that you don't see? Do coworkers consistently outperform you in key areas? Be realistic – it's best to face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.
• • • • • • •
What new technology can help you? Or can you get help from others or from people via the Internet? Is your industry growing? If so, how can you take advantage of the current market? Do you have a network of strategic contacts to help you, or offer good advice? What trends (management or otherwise) do you see in your company, and how can you take advantage of them? Are any of your competitors failing to do something important? If so, can you take advantage of their mistakes? Is there a need in your company or industry that no one is filling? Do your customers or vendors complain about something in your company? If so, could you create an opportunity by offering a solution?
You might find useful opportunities in the following:
• • • •
Networking events, educational classes, or conferences. A colleague going on an extended leave. Could you take on some of this person's projects to gain experience? A new role or project that forces you to learn new skills, like public speaking or international relations. A company expansion or acquisition. Do you have specific skills (like a second language) that could help with the process?
Also, importantly, look at your strengths, and ask yourself whether these open up any opportunities – and look at your weaknesses, and ask yourself whether you could open up opportunities by eliminating those weaknesses.
• • • • •
What obstacles do you currently face at work? Are any of your colleagues competing with you for projects or roles? Is your job (or the demand for the things you do) changing? Does changing technology threaten your position? Could any of your weaknesses lead to threats?
Performing this analysis will often provide key information – it can point out what needs to be done and put problems into perspective.
A Personal SWOT Example
What would a personal SWOT assessment look like? Review this SWOT analysis for Carol, an advertising manager.
• • • •
I'm very creative. I often impressing clients with a new perspective on their brands. I communicate well with my clients and team. I have the ability to ask key questions to find just the right marketing angle. I'm completely committed to the success of a client's brand.
• • •
I have a strong, compulsive need to do things quickly and remove them from my "to do" list, and sometimes the quality of my work suffers as a result. This same need to get things done also causes me stress when I have too many tasks. I get nervous when presenting ideas to clients, and this fear of public speaking often takes the passion out of my presentations.
• • •
One of our major competitors has developed a reputation for treating their smaller clients poorly. I'm attending a major marketing conference next month. This will allow for strategic networking, and also offer some great training seminars. Our art director will go on maternity leave soon. Covering her duties while she's away would be a great career development opportunity for me.
• • •
Simon, one of my colleagues, is a much stronger speaker than I am, and he's competing with me for the art director position. Due to recent staff shortages, I'm often overworked, and this negatively impacts my creativity. The current economic climate has resulted in slow growth for the marketing industry. Many firms have laid off staff members, and our company is considering further cutbacks.
As a result of performing this analysis, Carol takes the bold step of approaching her colleague Simon about the art director's maternity leave. Carol proposes that both she and Simon cover the job's duties, working together and each using his or her strengths. To her surprise, Simon likes the idea. He knows he presents very well, but he admits that he's usually impressed by Carol's creative ideas, which he feels are far better than most of his. By working as a team, they have a chance to make their smaller clients feel even better about the service they're getting. This takes advantage of their competitor's weakness in this area.
A SWOT matrix is a framework for analyzing your strengths and weaknesses as well as the opportunities and threats that you face. This helps you focus on your strengths, minimize your weaknesses, and take the greatest possible advantage of opportunities available to you.
Finding Career Direction
Discover Yourself and Your Purpose
How long has it been since you asked yourself what you want to be when you grow up? If you haven't considered the idea since high school, then you may have settled into a job that is not fulfilling your professional aspirations, or your purpose. Each of us has particular talents that, when expressed or exercised, make the world a better place. Most likely you enjoy doing these things, and you find that people respond well to you when you do them. Perhaps they're things you gravitate towards during out-of-hours activities, and that people respect you for. When you develop these talents as far as you can, you can make your greatest possible contribution to the world, and enjoy personal and professional satisfaction that goes along with this.
defenses. in which you identify the jobs you want and put yourself in the best possible position to get them. and reinvention. you keep yourself heading toward the right career even when the actual direction shifts over time. Discovering Who You Really Are The first question to answer is "Who am I?" We'll take two approaches to answering this . In fact.6 Your Career Direction Journey The process of uncovering what you are meant to do. this journey never really ends because work itself is all about change. growth. and using. and stresses of everyday life. consider your answers to the following questions: • • • • • • • • When have you been most committed. that is finding career direction. Who Am I? 2. is a journey. your journey continues with specific career exploration and identification of a career that allows you to make good use of your talents. Once unmasked.firstly asking you to explore your talents. By taking a talent-based approach to your career search right from the start. What Do I Want to Do? 3. This approach consists of sequentially answering three questions: 1. How Do I Get Hired? 1. It starts with discovering the essential "you": the person who truly resides behind the facades. passionate and enthusiastic? When have you been most creative? When have you been most sure of yourself and your decisions? What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment? When have other people considered you to be most successful? When have you enjoyed your work most? What talents were you relying on. in these situations? For what would you take a very strong stand? . and secondly using psychometric tests to explore your preferences. development. Exploring Your Talents First of all. And it moves on with a focused job or career move.
Is there a match or a mismatch? We'll do this later. you'll probably find the tests quite insightful! With personality testing you learn what you have in common with other people. and then use your answers to identify the top three talents that you most use when you're successful. think about what personality type is most likely to be successful in these careers. we'll look at using personality inventories as a way of looking at your preferred way of working relative to other people. This in turn empowers you to seek those elements in the work you choose to do. it does help you discover what motivates and energizes you. Influence. Personality Inventories Next. and avoid the things that . Rank these in order. You also discover potential points of friction with people of other personality types. There are many typologies available including Myers-Briggs. Tip 1: Some of these cost quite a lot of money. what would you be doing? Brainstorm each of these questions.7 • • • • What about the world puzzles or disturbs you that you could make an impact on? What jobs do you like to do at work when you have a choice? What activities are you drawn towards out of work? If money were no concern.you can't capture the whole complexity of your personality and experience with only a few questions. DISC (Dominance. and as you identify possible careers. it is probably worth investing in them if you haven't already done so. however considering the importance of what you're doing. While no personality type is good or bad. Tip 3: Treat these tests as advisory only . Tip: If you're having problems choosing. Steadiness and Conscientiousness) and the strength finder evaluation in "Now Discover Your Strengths". One trick is to turn things around. That said. Tip 2: It can be hard initially to see how to apply these tests. use a technique like paired comparison analysis to rank things in order.
be careful not just to look back nostalgically at simple jobs where you performed well . Focus instead on more difficult areas where you made a positive difference. Tip: When you're doing this. and your way of seeing the world. You choose to react one way over another. many different people could perform well in these situations. then you'll struggle constantly and be under a great deal of stress and pressure. The starting point is to do some brainstorming on the jobs that you think would suit who you are. what is your payoff for making the choices you make? When you know the "why" it is easier to see how you can become fulfilled through the work you do. You then need to spend some time researching the top careers you've identified. We'll then confirm this with some different psychometric tests. The talents you achieve most with. ill-fitting jobs demand different talents from the ones that you have. After all. Use it to answer the following questions: • • • • What your talents and strengths are. 2. or to prefer one thing to another. your beliefs. In psychological terms.8 frustrate and demotivate you. the next stage is to think about what you want to do. and then extend this list with some more brainstorming. The activities you get most satisfaction from. If you try to pursue a career path that is at odds with your values. For your life to be balanced and fulfilled. Write a "Who I Am" Statement Now draw this together into a simple written statement of who you are. This is an important step toward self-discovery and defining your purpose. You can take this self-awareness one step further by examining why you make the choices you do. and where others didn't.after all. As you explore your personality you come to realize that who you are is really determined by the choices you make. and this gives you little information. . Finding Out What You Want to Do Now that you know who you are. your career must be aligned with who you are: Otherwise you'll be unhappy with work. The type of activity the psychometrics you've completed guide you towards. and you'll probably underachieve.
com iii. Thinking Further The unavoidable flaw with these career tests is that they're based on backward-looking data.") Starting here is particularly important if you're already established in a career: It's important to capitalize where you can on the experience and contacts you've already built up. and with good selections of possible careers): http://www. nor do they know about less well-known careers. do some brainstorming to see if there are new technology careers which demand similar personality types. extend out and brainstorm the other options available.) So start by asking yourself if your current role can be adapted to suit you much better. who may be much younger than you. On the other hand. Using the test results as a starting point. .com http://www. compared with ditching everything and starting completely afresh (while this sounds glamorous and enticing. ii. Useful ones are: Free. a radical career change may be the best thing. they can't recommend new careers. but limited career selection advice: Princeton Review Career Quiz Chargeable (but inexpensive. Because of this. Once you've done this.self-directed-search. Using Career Tests The next stage is to use online career tests to explore options that you might have missed.9 i. it puts you in the position of competing equally with other career starters.. and can only cope with the major career types..assessment. if you're profoundly unhappy with your company. or if there are more obscure careers that may also be open. start thinking about all of the jobs you can see that would suit you someone with the talents and interests in that statement (by depersonalizing it in this way. Exploring the Options You Know About Starting with your "Who I Am" statement. you help to avoid "being too close to the issue. industry and profession. if there are other roles within your existing company that would be worth trying. or whether similar roles in other organizations might be more rewarding.
But think about the consequences of getting things wrong! Surely it's worth spending time exploring your options. and what the issues and problems within it are. you now need to research the various options you have to make money doing so. this is quite tedious. looking at job vacancies to see if the career is in demand. Working part time and/or seasonally in the industry. Also. Visiting company websites. Reading industry/career magazines and get a sense of how "happy" the industry is. use paired comparison analysis to rank your choices. Participating in job fairs. who the major players in it are. Career research is not something many people relish. rather than a lifetime kicking yourself for making a bad choice! Methods for researching careers include: • Researching the career using sites like Acinet. job pay levels. Perform Career Research Armed with a solid understanding of how you can participate in fulfilling work. Understanding what talents and personalities make people successful in the career. and mapping these back against your own talents and personality. and perhaps to move. We're not asking you to choose one now. Understanding where organizations are based. and deciding if you're prepared to travel to interviews. Now's the time to cut these down and prioritize them. but it is necessary in order to eliminate choices that seem to be great fits on the surface but really won't align with your mission and purpose. qualifications needed. Volunteering. Conducting your own PEST Analysis to confirm your own view of likely career trends. job availability. and keep an eye on how companies are talked about in the press. Attending professional and trade shows. v. if you're having trouble prioritizing. some of them may turn out to be quite bad!) Again. but to cut down to your top 5 or 6 choices (the reason being that when you start researching these careers. Pulling This Together. so that you can understand industry trends. etc. You'll now have identifies a wide range of possible careers open to you. Yes.10 iv. • • • • • • • • • .org.
an opening that Uncle Vinny has. however so can Grid Analysis which helps you make comparisons where many variables are involved. in order to get there. faster. You will also have much more confidence in yourself despite the bumps in the road. the better the job . Many people tend to move from their purpose right into job search mode.) Take official figures with a pinch of salt! By the end of all of this research. Go back and identify contingency plans • Do a "what if" analysis on your goals "If you don't get accepted to grad school this year. "What am I going to do to get hired?" With your "Who I Am" statement and your research as your compass. • Be sure to express as SMART objectives. what will you do?" Tip: The more contingency plans you have the more likely you will be able to survive the inevitable setbacks. What qualifications should you get? What experience should you build? Which organization will give you the best start? For each of these steps create a detailed implementation plan. Answering "How do I Get Hired?" In this last phase you answer. • These are your short term goals. Tip 2: Recognize that the more opportunities you have. Now's the time to narrow down to one! Again. you may have rejected several possible careers. What is your long-term vision for yourself in terms of your career? Write down the steps you need to take or the things you need to accomplish. or a whole host of other distractions. • • • • Start by writing down the career you want.11 Tip: Be careful when using career trends to identify career possibilities: The desire to pursue an up and coming career may overshadow your mission and purpose. now you need to actually map your progress. 3. Paired Comparison Analysis may be useful here. This is a mistake because unless you have a plan. Also be aware that there's a natural desire from people within an industry to inflate its prospects (to ensure a good supply of new recruits in the future. Develop your plan first and you're more likely to get where you want to go. This will only lead to dissatisfaction down the road. it is far too easy to get derailed by a lucrative job offer. a job that sounds really glamorous.
or where you need to use your “gut” to guide you. What lies behind our feelings of work satisfaction or dissatisfaction are our fundamental work interests: These are the things that we enjoy doing. Using "Holland's Codes" Shaping a career that suits your personality. You are no longer having fun. whatever the industry or the job title. The more effort you put into the planning stages the better your results. Likewise. For example.12 that you'll be able to choose. Your promotional and/or development opportunities are limited. The effort however. You are suffering from stress or depression. you may not be happy working in a job that needs quick decisions. You are feeling unappreciated. There are certainly no guarantees but with the right amount of planning and a sufficient dose of reality. the career that you are meant for will materialize. Signs a career direction evaluation may be in order: • • • • • • Your job lacks challenge and excitement for you. You know when you are in a job you like. You sense that your skills and talents are being wasted. Uncovering your true self and your purpose is heavy. emotional work and you may have to go through this process a few times in the span of your working life. is certainly worth it when you end up with a clear sense of the direction your career should be taking. • Key Points Finding career direction is a process. Concentrate on creating as many opportunities as possible! Now you are free to pursue your dream career with confidence. artistic people would be . Learning is replaced with routine. if you’re a science person. You also know when the task you're doing just isn't right for you. The trick to finding career satisfaction can be to identify those core interests and match your job to them.
Ability and personality are the two main things contribute towards job satisfaction. Realistic (R): These are people who like well-ordered activities. precise. inflexible. curious.money. 2. Common traits: • Hard-headed. Value concrete and tangible things like . or enjoy working with objects. tools. materialistic. In a perfect world. commercial or "enterprising". Realistic people: • • • See themselves as mechanically or athletically talented. but often lack leadership skills. pessimistic. we would all choose careers that suit our core interests. practical. we can find ourselves in positions where what we’re doing just doesn’t suit our natural interests and abilities. . persistent. This is where understanding how job and personality fit together can help you change the situation for the better. Investigative (I): Investigative people like activities that involve creative investigation of the world or nature. Understanding the Theory: Holland’s Codes In the 1970s John Holland developed a popular theory of interest development based around these six personality types: 1.13 driven mad in a profession that has lots of rules and procedures. Investigative people: • • • See themselves as highly intelligent. and status. and machines. Here we look at your work interests – an important part of your work personality. Value scientific endeavors. However this is not a perfect world: For all sorts of reasons. and genuine. Common traits: • Analytical. Avoid activities that seem mundane. and reserved. You’re likely to find that jobs that suit your ability and personality are much more rewarding than those that don’t. intellectual. Avoid "social" activities. but may not be good with people. or which demands a lot of number crunching. those that need interaction with other people. power.
Common traits: • Idealistic. emphatic. complicated . sociable. and cooperative. patient. Artistic (A): Artistic people like unstructured activities. Conventional people enjoy manipulating data. Value social activities. Artistic people: • • • See themselves as talented artists. impractical and nonconformist. Common traits: • Extroverted. persuasive. popular. understanding and able to teach others. 4. adventurous. and enjoy using materials to create art. great leaders and speakers. These Enterprising people: • • • See themselves as aggressive. Common traits: • Generous. Avoid activities demanded by "realistic" occupations and situations. 5. Value aesthetics. introspective. Social (S): Social people enjoy informing. Avoid activities demanded by "investigative" occupations and situations. filing. Social people: • • • Perceive themselves as helpful. Conventional people .14 3. tactful. Value political and economic achievement. optimistic. training. Avoid "conventional" occupations or situations. and exhibitionistic. curing and enlightening others. but may lack scientific ability. reproducing materials. and organizing written or numerical data. Conventional (C): 6. record keeping. sensitive. developing. ambitious. people enjoy reaching Enterprising organizational goals or achieving economic (E): gain.
Common traits: • Efficient. Holland's theory is that people with different personality types prefer working with different work stimuli. The Model Holland then arranged these six personality types into a hexagon (see figure 1. Value business and economic achievement. practical. The way that this works in practice is that people use a personality test to identify their three top personality types. conscientious. ESA). below) organized according to people's preference for working with different stimuli at work: people. defensive. the career most aligned with that type is most likely to be enjoyable and satisfying. For example. a Realistic person would be best suited for a Technical job and least suited for Social job. Jobs with Conventional or Operational characteristics would be the next best choices. This gives their Holland's code (for example. things. data. Avoid unstructured or "artistic" activities. inflexible.15 • • • See themselves as having clerical and numerical ability. Holland's conclusion was that for any personality type. . This is then matched against the Holland's codes of people typically found within particular careers. For example Artistic people are least like Conventional people and most like Social and Investigative people. and that the distance between work personalities indicates the degree of difference in interests between them. and ideas. and methodical.
16 How to Use Holland Codes Career Model: There are two good ways of using this model – either in helping you choose a career that suits you. One strategy to deal with this is to . ask yourself. To shape your job. entertainment. which are directly opposite to your Conventional ways. Part Two: Analyze your job in terms of your interests Step iii: Look at your main tasks and responsibilities. learn from this!) Tip 1: Do try the online tests – they're not expensive (for example. if you are a "Conventional" person working in an administrative position. Use this to decide whether your job is a good fit for your interests or not. There are many of these. (If so. These are more Artistic responsibilities. "How would my spouse. Using Holland's Codes is a straightforward process. use our complete process. not who we really are. To find your ideal career according to this approach. if you were asked to organize the Christmas party. Step v: For each of the job roles where your interests are not well matched. However. Part One: Identify your Work Personality Step i: Read through the brief descriptions given above and find the one you most identify with. You may want to take an official Holland Code Assessment. just complete steps i and ii below. Try one: Does the assessment say what you thought it would? If they aren't. Here again. many of your roles will be in-line with your interests. one costs US$9. you might be very uncomfortable about deciding about decorations. Are they aligned with your work personality? Step iv: List those responsibilities that are aligned in one column and those that are not in another. For instance. which is made all the easier by some useful online interest evaluation sites. ask yourself why: Often we choose a personality type that reflects who we want to be. and so on. and friends categorize me?" Show some of your friends and co-workers descriptions of the types and ask them to categorize you. This can save you a huge amount of painstaking research! Step ii: To further explore your "true" work personality.99) and a good one will show you the careers and professions that most suit your code once you've completed it. explore any differences between your assessment of yourself and theirs. work out at least one way of bringing the two sides together. family. or in helping you shape your existing job so that you maximize your fulfillment. costing different amounts – you can find them by typing "Holland Code Assessment" into Google.
but it can't possibly capture all of the complexities of the ways that people behave at work. If you're thinking about your career. Identify two or three of the most important problem areas. and set realistic goals to change things. Every occupation requires a particular set of characteristics. Tip 3: Also bear in mind that as you develop in your career you'll need to extend your skills into new areas. and do well. Make sure that you interpret any conclusions with common sense. you need to develop the "Social" ability to work with other people. This helps you think about what you want to achieve with your life. as well as other skills that normally go with other personality types (if you're going to be a CEO. You maintain the Administrative duties and get rid of the Artistic ones. Tip 2: Remember that this is a model – it's a useful way of looking at things. In particular. and the way it fits with the future shape of your life. and set the goals that will lead you there. This helps you develop your career in the right direction – one that will be a source of long-term fulfillment.) Key Points Holland’s Career Codes provides a useful framework for exploring your personal interests and the careers most likely to suit you. Job Crafting Shaping your job to fit you better Have you ever noticed something like this going on at work? It's now about six months since the arrival of a new Program Office Administrator. . By identifying your particular interests you can quickly uncover the parts of your job that give your satisfaction. you can identify areas of dissatisfaction and help you plan how to address these. there's a lot of "Conventional" work that you just have to do. as you take responsibility for people and then move upwards within an organization. Part Three: Set Goals to Bring Your Interests and Responsibilities in line Step vi: The best way of making sure that something gets done is to set a specific. Likewise. time limited goal. and the focus of the job has changed subtly.17 delegate the Artistic tasks and assume responsibility for making sure the tasks get done. look at our Life Plan Workbook.
adjust and continue. Evaluate how the change will impact you and your work environment. So. Let's look at each of these steps in more detail. while "wowing" your employer at the same time. it's about creating opportunities to play to your strengths. He's now enhancing the different progress reports to make key information stand out more effectively. How to start crafting your job today To "craft your job". using her competence in finance to develop new procedures for checking the monthly financial reports for all of the projects in the program. Act to put positive change in place. Stephen. (If you're not sure what your strengths are. and away from those where your performance is likely to be weaker. so that it's closer to your "ideal" job. Check on progress. though. Rebecca. Overall.18 The previous post-holder. you can play to your strengths. without necessarily consulting managers or having to wait for their approval. improving both satisfaction and performance. they've both been really good performers.) . Her successor. The ways that that Rebecca and Stephen crafted their work as Program Office Administrators fell into this category. Job crafting may seem like a simple idea. follow these steps: 1. By subtly redesigning your job like this. The idea here is that many jobs are actually quite flexible. meaning that their focus can be adjusted to fit the skills and preferences of the current job-holder. In short. or using your knowledge to change working methods. and you can start whenever you want. making a big contribution to the efficiency and organization of the team. using skills that you already have. so that you can generate better results. did a great job. at least to some extent. has a particular flair for graphic design. 3. but what makes it a really powerful tool is that it allows you to increase the control you have over your own professional life. 2. Decide what you want to change. • Task content: This involves improving the way that things are done. Practically any job can be crafted. You shift the emphasis of the job towards things that you can do really well. what's going on? The answer is that both Rebecca and Stephen have been using the concept of job crafting. 4. however. use the Reflected Best Self™ exercise to explore them. Step 1: Decide what you want to change by crafting your job You can make changes in one or more of the following areas to craft the way you work.
You could volunteer to train new-hires on the system. • Note: Crafting job purpose doesn't involve any actual changes in the content of your work. you should take into account your clients. you might be tempted to craft your job so that you spend more time in the test lab. Stephen might volunteer to mentor new hires. For example. or provide updates on system changes for your colleagues. Avoid any temptation to turn a job crafting exercise into a win-lose situation. and the organization as a whole. you might look for ways to have more satisfying interactions with other people during the course of your work each day. you need to assess the potential impact of these possible changes on your wider work environment. a programmer working in the IT department of an airline could reframe his or her work from "writing code" to "helping people enjoy trouble-free travel". For example. your colleagues. your supervisor or manager. it won't help you to expand your skills or affect your output greatly. or at least that your job crafting is compatible with your work environment. go back to Step 1. What you get out this could be simple enjoyment because you enjoy teaching people things. If this isn't the case. or a boost to your own self-esteem. if you dislike having meetings with your supervisor.19 • Relationships: Here. For more on this. Remember that effective job crafting usually depends on finding a win-win solution. Here. and while this can certainly add to your enjoyment of your work. you may have significant experience in using your organization's internal accounting system. So make sure you're headed for a mutually beneficial outcome. or more interaction with people from other departments. What your organization gets from this is a better-trained. but the overall impact may well be negative. more effective workforce. read our article on Creating Job Satisfaction. and see if other job crafting changes might work better! . where she's less likely to find you! You might achieve your short-term goal of avoiding these meetings. So look for things you could change in the first two categories to get the most out of job crafting. In our example. Purpose: You can also redefine your existing work to reflect what you see as being the real impact of what you do at work. Step 2: Evaluate how crafting your job will impact you and your environment Next. For example.
20 Also. you take the initiative! Tip 2: Don't expect to be able to redefine your job completely. if you have any managerial responsibilities. and make sure that it really is compatible with your wider work environment. Step 3: Act to put positive job crafting change in place At this stage. The only condition is that your decisions must have positive outcomes for your organization. and you accepted that when you were hired! Make absolutely sure that. After all. it's time to put your job crafting into practice. as mentioned in Step 2. you're fully meeting the objectives you've been set. you can let your changes become a habit. ensure that your boss and clients are happy with what's going on. you need to take them into account when you consider any job crafting. check that it gives you what you want. and you feel good about what's happening. When you have a number of other people to supervise. And of course. the key is to get rid of any symptom of what psychologists call "learned helplessness". or expect. within your recrafted job. If everything checks out. adjust and continue Having gone through Steps 1. perfecting the skill of job crafting can. Job crafting gives you the chance to turn this situation around. lead to career enhancement opportunities. and you decide to make the necessary changes. What job crafting can do for you The benefits of job crafting can include: • • • Giving you greater enjoyment from what you do at work. even small changes in how you work can have significant effects on the people who depend on you. By refocusing your job in this way. In job crafting. 2 and 3 above. . Encouraging real personal development by improving skills. Step 4: Check on your job crafting progress. This is the phenomenon whereby people have become so accustomed to indifference to their contributions that they believe that no matter what they do. in itself. But don't wait for. nothing will come of it. your employer wanted someone to carry out your duties. you decide what's going to make you feel better valued and more productive. Tip 1: You can always ask your manager's opinion about how you're crafting your job. Helping you approach your work with more energy and enthusiasm. managerial input or approval before you start.
so that it suits you better. Start crafting today! The Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS) at the University of Michigan has a useful Job Crafting Exercise. Key Points Job crafting is something that you decide to do. What we do know for certain is that change is a constant in the workplace. compare notes with other colleagues who are appreciated at work and who clearly enjoy their jobs. increasing enjoyment. and then. There are four basic steps: you decide what you want to change. This is a template that you can buy on-line to help you apply the ideas discussed here. or in 10 or even 20 years time? And over this time. and so find out what might also work for you. you may uncover some interesting ideas. you look for a win-win solution. in order to change aspects of your current job. By categorizing their experiences according to the list in Step 1. you put the changes into practice. Future Proof Your Career Developing skills for your future as well as for today How will your job be different five years from now? Indeed. An important element of successful job crafting is that it's you who takes the initiative: you don't need to wait for your manager or supervisor to give you instructions. The benefits you can get from crafting your job include boosting results. How can you predict and prepare for this workplace of the future? What should you be doing now to make sure you don't find yourself facing a dead end in your career? . having checked they're having a positive effect. building skills and increasing your general ability to cope with your work. will your job even exist in its present form in five years. what will happen to the company and industry you work for? We really don't know what the future holds. you make sure they become a habit.21 Tip 3: For pointers on how you might set about job crafting. This means that what we are doing now will be different in the future.
You need to develop the transferable skills that are universally sought by employers.) When you work for this kind of company. or in addition to. And remember. innovation. so that you remain in demand in the marketplace. get a job at a company renowned in its industry for developing its people (traditional examples are GE. Develop a five year learning plan to acquire the knowledge and education you need. Develop your competencies. it has high risk of obsolescence attached. A broad range of competencies. even if new developments don't seem directly related to your current job. consider joining our Career Excellence Club to learn these skills. If that means learning the newest online tools like blogging and web conferencing. Otherwise. If you're early in your career. Leadership. If you're in a highly technical field of work. Force yourself to keep your technical skills current. Your specific technical skills may get out of date.22 This article gives you some strategies you can begin pursuing now. Toyota and Mars. your kit may need to adapt as well. To maximize your chances of success. stress management and interpersonal skills are all fundamental requirements of the jobs of today and tomorrow. Pick and choose from among them to build your unique Future Proofing Kit. Develop cross-functional skills. however. Beyond a certain stage in your career and in uncertain environments. use the tips found in the Personal Goal Setting article to help you set development goals effectively. Refer back to this list often and take inventory of what you should be doing either differently from. specialization is no longer the route of choice. do it. It can pay off for some. Future Proofing Kit Find an "Academy" company. communication. That's why you see nurses with business skills and technology experts with financial experience. make sure you use it to plan your skills development. what you are doing now. as your own circumstances change. Get and remain tech-savvy. Much of the change we see has to do with new technology. Along with technical skills. you are enrolled in a continuous development program that goes well beyond the technical skills you need for your current role. . be proactive and stay current even when your company does not. We keep finding faster and leaner ways to do things. and if you have our Personal Development Plan Workbook. it is critically important to continue your professional development. skills and abilities can help you secure a new job or may even open the door to working in a new industry. And yes. They will help you keep your skills current and your opportunities open. you'll get left behind and may have to catch up a huge amount before you can head off in a new direction in the future. Here are some ways to do this: • • • • Choose two competencies or skills to improve each year. Monitor and track your progress. skills and experience. This forms a great foundation for a successful career.
When you add a mentor or two to your network. technologies and strategies that will help you move your career in the direction you want. Note your volunteer work. The more experience you get. You need to acquire the ability to work within the international marketplace by: • • • Learning about working with diverse cultures.23 "Think global. projects and results. Be aware of changes and trends in the economy. Learning another language. File your performance reviews and the written letters and emails you receive that note your performance. Create and maintain a success journal. Your co-workers. Keep track of former bosses and colleagues. clients and stakeholders now and in the future can be from anywhere in the world. • • • • Collect business cards. geographical barriers to business are getting less and less relevant. These people will be invaluable as the landscape of work changes." In many industries. All of us need to boost our confidence and self esteem from time to time. Make sure that you develop good relationships with people both within and outside your organization. This will make you much more attractive to employers in the future. Participate in a wide range of activities and build relationships beyond your current career or industry. Keep a list of professional development activities you've participated in. No one can accurately predict the future. Having a list of objective strengths and accomplishments can do a lot to improve your motivation and belief in your abilities. Build and maintain a professional network. Use this success journal to track your strengths and successes and also to affirm your wonderful qualities as well. Scan the environment. Employers want to know what you will do for them. Join professional networking associations. and can provide opportunities when your current position looks uncertain. Asking for assignments that require international exposure. you have the added bonus of learning new skills. The time to start thinking about your accomplishments and skills is not when you are looking for a new job. it is much easier to recall your most relevant achievements and skills. • • • • • Track your duties. however stay ahead of the crowd . You need to be proactive and take continuous inventory of what you do really well. the accolades you have been given and the noteworthy results you've been responsible for. the more confidence you will have when working in the global marketplace. They can bring you along with them as they weather changes. When you have a ready list of things you have done. List the training you've completed. your profession and the industry you are in.
and for employers . Build your flexibility and maintain your enthusiasm despite what is happening around you. Develop resilience. boredom and. this will not be the case. however. in the long term. For many. This will lead to frustration. Because the future is uncertain. Being an expert in a dying field may provide a niche strategy into the medium term.or career-change. it's best to get out while the going's good! Overall. listen to the Expert Interview with Cal Crow. You may be fortunate enough to be in an organization where there's a clear and attractive career path ahead of you.that have long-term sustainability. You need to become good at both to secure your future career. It is better to prepare now. you can ensure the skills you bring to the table are. however hard you work. All of these techniques can be very useful as you begin to plan and prepare for your future. See our article on Career Planning to find out how to do this. and choosing to work in industries . However if you're in a slow growth industry or are one in decline. you will probably encounter setbacks no matter how much you prepare and plan. failure to achieve your potential. Analyze the attractiveness of your company using Porter's Five Forces and USP Analysis. then this is a problem: There may be no onward path.24 by keeping yourself informed. This may not be a problem if you're in a fast growth industry . monitor your progress and identify what is holding you back. Key Points: While your job description may not be relevant in the future. This is where you need to review your options and take action to unblock your career. and development may be blocked.if you're good at what you do. Complete a PEST analysis for your industry and others you are interested in. People who will be successful are those with the ability to bounce back and consider such setbacks as learning experiences. Develop realistic and achievable goals. If you think your company or industry is in trouble. Keep a clear career path open. With some forethought and planning. you can take control of your future career . even if it means a job. • • • Evaluate and affirm your strengths on a regular basis. avoid industries and companies that are on a downward slide. • • • • Keep track of business trends by reading a good newspaper and the industry press. opportunities will most-likely appear with alarming regularity. you will eventually have to leave. Back your hunches and analysis with action. To learn more about resiliency. And they all have in common the elements of risk management and career planning.
you've got some useful skills. When you realize that change is constant and you are constantly planning so you stay ahead of the game. and it could advance your career to exciting new levels. Let's say you've heard a rumor that a management position at your company will open up in the next few months.they may be advertised on a bulletin board or company intranet . but volunteering isn't just about doing charity work: it's also a great way to acquire new skills that would be hard to learn elsewhere.25 today. we offer strategies for gaining the skills necessary to help you secure the job of your dreams. for many people. But you fear you may not get the opportunity. So. Overcoming a Lack of Qualifications Gaining the skills you need Imagine this scenario: You're doing a great job in your current role. The key is not so much in how skilled you are at predicting what will happen. Volunteer This may come as a surprise. So you ask yourself: Do you really have the time or desire to quit your current job to pursue that advanced degree you need? Can you afford to spend the money or vacation time on executivelevel coaching courses? While gaining formal qualifications is the best way of advancing your career. what are some alternative ways of learning the skills you need. and you're so inspired by the new role that you know you would quickly gain the necessary knowledge. you will find yourself in a great position to recognize and capitalize on the opportunities that present themselves. What about joining an employee relations committee? Or . You've always wanted to work in management. it is in how attuned you are to the early indications of change.even if they are not directly related to your current job. and you'd like to apply for the job as soon as the vacancy is advertised. without spending too much time and money? The good news is that there are several ways to overcome your lack of qualifications. The only problem is that this new type of work requires qualifications or experience that you currently don't have. it's not always realistic or practical to obtain those qualifications. and keep an eye out for opportunities that arise in your organization . What can you do? Well. But you currently have no management experience. Sure. This is something you feel passionate about. In this article. you can show initiative. but you've recently become interested in a completely different line of work.
chances are pretty high that you won't get a writing position without a portfolio. writing. Failing to consider a lower-level position might mean you would miss out on these opportunities. you won't get paid for it). Imagine that you'd like to start a career as a journalist. Start at a Lower Level This may not seem to make sense at first. You'll then be in an ideal position if there's a job opening for a writer. Why would you apply for a position further down the ladder from the one you want? Here's the reason: If you have no qualifications or experience for a specific role.26 how about a planning committee that's organizing a major company event? Why not volunteer to run it? Taking on new duties will involve more work (and. it may be worth exploring this option if it helps you reach your ultimate goal. can at least lead you one step closer to the job you really want. If you can't identify opportunities within your company. However. and ask your new journalist colleagues for feedback. don't dismiss the long-term value of the knowledge you'll gain. as a volunteer. . fundraising. you'll soon gain detailed knowledge of how a newspaper works. When it's time to apply for that management position.such as school boards and youth work programs look for people to do accounting. But if you take a job as a receptionist at a media organization. volunteering for extra jobs or projects can also help you prove to your boss that you can handle increased responsibilities. You're a good writer. marketing. Applying 'downward' may not seem appealing in the short term. or reimburse you for outside classes. in the long term. and the good impression you'll make. and to build up your portfolio. The important thing is to see your name in print. These skills are highly valued in the business world. But it's also an opportunity to be involved with managing a group of people. Eventually. budgeting. if you really want to make a career change. Although you may not see immediate results. As well as learning new skills. project management. you could make the transition to full-time journalist. but you have no experience writing feature stories or working in a newspaper environment. You can write a few articles in your spare time. The company might offer training seminars. with fewer responsibilities and fewer requirements. Well. you might be able to learn the skills you need for your ideal job during your regular work day. You can even offer to help out with some of the smaller articles. And. then applying for a related position. then consider volunteering for community organizations. you'll be able to show that you have experience successfully running a team. depending on the new company or position. and more. and you can add them to your résumé when you apply for a promotion or new job. Many nonprofits .
for example). often use lectures from several different experts . so you'll have a better chance at a career in upper management. then just helping out on a hospital ward will not be enough to secure the job of your dreams.27 However.and at a much lower cost . however. Executive-level workshops. and leadership are just a few subjects you could study in a distancelearning program. in the evenings. you can often complete a qualification in less time . The Cost of Building and Maintaining Relationships. Perhaps the biggest benefit to distance learning is that. Several years of rigorous medical training is essential here . . For example. Asking Questions and Telling Stories. and so on.on your lunch hour. because you work on your own (instead of at the pace of an entire class). For example. These are usually intense training sessions that last anywhere from one day to a week or more. Executive workshops often use several different approaches to teach upper-level managers important new skills that will help them advance their careers. business management. if you want to become a medical doctor.plus group exercises and one-to-one coaching. Skills like project management. This is because it's often more efficient than going to classes on campus. you attend class at the time and place of your choice . a traditional campus class is usually taught by one professor. With distance learning. but they're terrific ways to learn some specific skills to add to your résumé.something you would have to consider on a practical level before making such a commitment. This is an admirable demonstration of your commitment to excel in your career. do bear in mind that certain occupations require specific qualifications and experience. each exploring a different area of relationship building. Imagine that you decide to take an executive workshop on relationship building. marketing. you can become certified or earn a degree in almost any area.than a traditional school. workshops might offer several different lectures. accounting and finance. you may have to use your vacation time. And. because it's so common now (compared to even a few years ago). Take Executive-level Workshops Executive-level courses can help you gain qualifications in a specific area. personnel development. Executive-level workshops can be expensive. You don't have to waste time driving to and from campus. or on weekends. If you attend a longer workshop (lasting a week. You could attend lectures on topics such as Barriers to Relationship Building. Instead of a traditional management class. which may have only one lecture on building relationships. Take Advantage of Distance Learning Distance learning (Internet-based classes) allows you to gain additional qualifications while working full time.
find out whether courses are available for study by distance learning. and give you a chance to examine whether you really want the new job enough to work hard for it. If that's not practical. Apply This to Your Life 1. Is your dream job a logical next step from where you are now? Assess whether you need to acquire new skills and/or qualifications to help you make that leap. You may not only impress your company with your ambition and enthusiasm. Before They Control You Everything can be taken from a man but the last of human freedoms – the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances. 4. 3.. Consider accepting a lower-level position to gain experience in a new field. 'Man's Search for Meaning' . Consider where your next career move will be. This will strengthen your qualifications. It's worth checking with your company when you register for a workshop. volunteer for projects that will add those 'must-have' attributes to your résumé.28 but make sure you still have enough remaining days off to take a real vacation during the year. If you're still not sure. It might be willing to reimburse part of the expense. our article on Finding Career Direction could help. then take proactive steps to investigate other ways of learning the skills you need. If you can gain those new skills within your organization. you don't necessarily have to give up your dream. to choose one's way. Managing Your Emotions at Work Controlling Your Feelings. Key Points Although it can be disappointing to realize that you lack the qualifications for the job you want. but prove to them that you really do care about the job. This can often be as enlightening as the knowledge you acquire along the way. or invest the time in distance-learning classes. Where possible. 2.. especially if you can prove that the skills you'll learn will be useful for future projects or tasks. It's never a good idea to wear yourself out in the race to get ahead. work towards obtaining the formal qualifications you need to get ahead. – Viktor Frankl. If you need professional qualifications to secure your ideal job.
most people don't need strategies for managing their positive emotions. Bond University professor of management Cynthia Fisher conducted a study called 'Emotions at Work: What Do People Feel. you're always free to choose how you react to it. but it's even more important for you to do so.29 We've all been in one of 'those' situations before. Dislike. when your best friend (and co-worker) is laid off suddenly. they're great to have in the workplace! Common Negative Emotions at Work In 1997. As long as you share positive emotions constructively and professionally. or to go hide in a corner and feel sorry for yourself for a while. In your personal life. they may choose to keep those who can handle their emotions. or unable to move forward in some way.. It may become harder and harder to manage your emotions under these circumstances. As the above quote shows. and work well under pressure. Stressful situations are all too common in a workplace that's facing budget cuts. compassion. these types of behavior could seriously harm your professional reputation. Anger/aggravation. your reaction to stressful situations like these might be to start shouting. and How Should We Measure It?' According to Fisher's research. excitement. we look at the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace – and how you can manage them productively. Frustration/Irritation Frustration usually occurs when you feel stuck or trapped. Below are different strategies you can use to help you deal with each of these negative emotions. staff layoffs. But at work. as well as your productivity. and department changes. when your favorite project is cancelled after weeks of hard work. Why are we focusing only on negative emotions? Well. or optimism usually don't affect others in a negative way. Disappointment/unhappiness. So. and 'choosing' your reactions to bad situations? In this article. if management is forced into making more layoffs. After all. the most common negative emotions experienced in the workplace are as follows: • • • • • Frustration/irritation. no matter what the situation is. or your boss assigns you more work when you're already overloaded. After all. when a customer snaps at you unfairly. Worry/nervousness. a boss who is too .. You know. It could be caused by a colleague blocking your favorite project. feelings of joy. how can you become better at handling your emotions.
Then think of one positive thing about your current situation. and that isn't good for anyone. and nothing else. This small change in your thinking can improve your mood. because they can easily lead to more negative emotions. Instead. they're probably not doing it deliberately to annoy you. For instance. and look at the situation. Breathe in slowly for five seconds. • • . Do this at least five times. it's certainly not personal! Don't get mad. When it's people who are causing your frustration. Ask yourself why you feel frustrated. if your boss is late for your meeting. it's important to deal with feelings of frustration quickly. read Physical Relaxation Techniques. Try these tips to deal with worrying: • Don't surround yourself with worry and anxiety – For example. which means they're not doing anything for you right now. Try deep-breathing exercises – This helps slow your breathing and your heart rate. Focus on how to improve the situation – If you fear being laid off. • • Worry/Nervousness With all the fear and anxiety that comes with increasing numbers of layoffs. then you have more time to prepare. and this can impact not only your mental health. Or. and be specific. Worrying tends to lead to more worrying. if coworkers gather in the break room to gossip and talk about job cuts. just move on. and your willingness to take risks at work. if you allow it. that probably won't help you keep your job. then breathe out slowly for five seconds. Here are some suggestions for dealing with frustration: • Stop and evaluate – One of the best things you can do is mentally stop yourself. Write it down. but also your productivity. it's no wonder that many people worry about their jobs. and you sit there and worry. Find something positive about the situation – Thinking about a positive aspect of your situation often makes you look at things in a different way. Remember the last time you felt frustrated – The last time you were frustrated about something. And if it's a thing that's bothering you – well. For more on this. then don't go there and worry with everyone else. or simply being on hold on the phone for a long time. such as anger. right? Your feelings of frustration or irritation probably didn't do much to solve the problem then. Focus on your breathing. Whatever the reason.30 disorganized to get to your meeting on time. But this worry can easily get out of control. the situation probably worked out just fine after a while. you could use this time to relax a little.
Also. knowing that you'll deal with them.' and then schedule a time to deal with them. Try these suggestions to control your anger: • Watch for early signs of anger – Only you know the danger signs when anger is building. If you have trouble managing your temper at work. Here are some ideas for working with people you dislike: . This interrupts your angry thoughts. Read our article on Building Self-Confidence to make sure this doesn't happen. it can dent your self-confidence. Just because your first instinct is to become angry doesn't mean it's the correct response. conduct a proper risk analysis around these things. imagine how you would look. and show how valuable you are to the company? • Write down your worries in a worry log – If you find that worries are churning around inside your mind. For instance. When you're worried and nervous about something. Anger/Aggravation Out-of-control anger is perhaps the most destructive emotion that people experience in the workplace.31 why not brainstorm ways to bring in more business. you can choose how you react in a situation. so learn to recognize them when they begin. If you start to get angry. you can forget about these worries. stop what you're doing – Close your eyes. it gives you some perspective on the situation. It's also the emotion that most of us don't handle very well. if you're about to shout at your co-worker. no matter what. don't let your worries get in the way of being appropriately assertive. Dislike We've probably all had to work with someone we don't like. and take whatever actions are necessary to mitigate any risks. But it's important to be professional. Stopping your anger early is key. Is your face red? Are you waving your arms around? Would you want to work with someone like that? Probably not. and it helps put you back on a more positive path. When it comes to the time you've scheduled. and practice the deep-breathing exercise we described earlier. then learning to control it is one of the best things you can do if you want to keep your job. Picture yourself when you're angry – If you imagine how you look and behave while you're angry. Remember. • • To find out more about managing your anger at work. Before that time. write them down in a notebook or 'worry log. read Dealing with Unfair Criticism and Anger Management. take our self-test How Good Is Your Anger Management? Also.
Be assertive – If the other person is rude and unprofessional. your energy will probably be low. Disappointment/Unhappiness Dealing with disappointment or unhappiness at work can be difficult. negative emotions can spread. you always have the power to change your situation. Remember.32 • Be respectful – If you have to work with someone you don't get along with. Of all the emotions you might feel at work. Is it a co-worker? Is it your job? Do you have too much to do? Once you identify the problem. If they did. then it's time to set aside your pride and ego. start brainstorming ways to solve it or work around it. • To learn more about handling dislike in the workplace. and learning how to cope with these feelings is now more important than ever. and all of that may hold you back from achieving. you might be afraid to take another risk. Just because this person behaves in an unprofessional manner. After all. life would be a straight road instead of one with hills and valleys. these are the most likely to impact your productivity. set the example. but make a small change – for example. right? And it's the hills and valleys that often make life so interesting. and calmly leave the situation. .') Try it – you may be surprised! • Key Points We all have to deal with negative emotions at work sometimes. Adjust your goal – If you're disappointed that you didn't reach a goal. then firmly explain that you refuse to be treated that way. Keep the goal. Our Back On Track article provides practical steps for recovering from a major career setback. please see Dealing with Difficult People and Egos at Work. that doesn't mean the goal is no longer reachable. If you've just suffered a major disappointment. forcing a smile – or even a grimace – onto your face can often make you feel happy (this is one of the strange ways in which we humans are 'wired. Smile! – Strange as it may sound. delay the deadline. • • Record your thoughts – Write down exactly what is making you unhappy. that doesn't mean you should as well. Here are some proactive steps you can take to cope with disappointment and unhappiness: • Look at your mindset – Take a moment to realize that things won't always go your way. ups and downs. and no one wants to be around a person who adds negativity to a group. Remember. Treat the person with courtesy and respect. as you would treat anyone else.
It's about showing that you have outgrown your current responsibilities. and stretching yourself beyond your current role. Ask yourself these questions: • • • • What are the strategic goals of the organization? How does your department's work fit into the overall strategy? How is your boss's performance measured? What critical functions do other people in your team currently perform? . Why is it. that you've been in the same position for three years while others . The longer you wait. my production output may suddenly fall! Focusing on simply what's expected of you may be a great strategy to keep the job you have. It doesn't necessarily mean doing more things . Organizations move forward by solving problems. remember . The key is identifying ways to add more value to your contribution. If you're busy working away. Think about it.seemingly lessdeserving people . your value to the company is your efficiency. can lead to a new job with more responsibility. When those emotions begin to appear. It's not necessarily even about being the best "widget" maker you can be. the harder it will be to pull yourself away from negative thinking. You may even do your job exceptionally well. you have to really understand the drivers of organizational success. Promotion isn't just about doing what you're paid to do. But going beyond what's expected. Discover ways to be more involved in the solutions . then. producing more widgets per hour than anyone has ever produced. why should I promote you? Clearly. Understand Your Organization To prepare for a promotion. before you head out to stop being effective at anything.have been promoted? The people who have been promoted may know one critical thing that you don't. Now. Get Ready for Promotion Showing What You Can Do You do your job faithfully every day.and that may move you forward too. If I promote you.33 Know what causes your negative emotions. and which types of feelings you face most often. Promotion is about pushing the limits of your current position.in your pursuit of a promotion. and that you're ready to take on new ones. you still have to perform well and meet your current job requirements. immediately start your strategy to interrupt the cycle.it means doing more of the RIGHT things.
This can help you practice your leadership skills and demonstrate your ability to take on new responsibilities. if you're a communications manager and feel that there's no place else to go with your job. Increase Your Responsibility Typically. perhaps by reading the industry press. and they then delegate various pieces to their staffs. and stay current in your field. while also demonstrating individual competence. If your exposure is broader. and make a plan to acquire those skills. Determine what you need to learn to add more value. For example. find out about the skills you'll need in the new role. offer to cover a co-worker's responsibilities while he or she is on vacation. Think about cost versus benefit. Use good judgment when carrying out your responsibilities. you may also see and be considered for more promotion opportunities. Offer to take on tasks that you know your boss dislikes or is weak in. This involves working well as part of a team. Become aware of the economic and business pressures facing your organization.to similar positions in different departments .34 You may even want to make lateral moves . review bottom-line results. They delegate in order to have more time to work on higher-level tasks. When you have the right mix of experience and skill. Try the following: • • • Volunteer to take on new projects and other opportunities. gain experience in other areas of the company. look for opportunities to lead projects. promotion to a more senior level may become a realistic goal. When you have questions for your boss. you first have to prove that you're capable of handling the increased responsibility. For example. to learn and practice other skills. and know how your role impacts the company as a whole. Get up-to-date. managers are given responsibility for something. and you'll make your boss's job easier . come prepared with solutions as well. You'll expand your range of experience. Then. Here are some ways to prove your capabilities: • • • • • • Complete your work thoroughly and with as little supervision as possible.to increase your overall appreciation for what the company does. Find opportunities to continue your learning and education. Also. Identify opportunities to delegate your own work. This frees up your time and allows you to practice supervising others' work. Expand your skill set.it's a win-win! . To gain access to them. These higher-level tasks are what you want to get involved in. and make sure you acquire these.
Put forward your ideas. Evaluate your strengths. Take action with these steps: • • • • • • Identify your career goals within the organization. this can be a great way to set the stage for promotion. always think about how to do things better. or with less waste? Consider the following: • • • • Demonstrate critical thinking when you report to your boss. How can you do something cheaper. Find out what they did to get where they are. When you run into obstacles. Set Promotion Goals Ultimately. Take note of who your internal competition might be . and follow it through! See Personal Goal Setting for practical tips. If you rely on someone else to make it happen. Set your goal. the better. The more you learn from other people's experiences. . Innovation isn't always improving things that already exist . and incorporate it into your decisions and solutions. you're the one who needs to work proactively to make a promotion happen. even if you aren't sure of the response. Learn more about innovative thinking in Practical Innovation.and come up with innovative ways to do those things better. and set goals to learn the skills you need for success. Look for a mentor within the organization. and who might champion your ideas. Understand the big picture. That's one of the defining characteristics of leaders. This demonstrates both your imagination and willingness to take risks.and work hard to distinguish yourself and make yourself stand out. Be prepared for many of your ideas to not be accepted. See Finding a Mentor for practical steps and strategies. Look for things that aren't being done at all. Having someone to talk to. A positive attitude can go a long way toward reaching your goals. think how you can improve them . you'll probably end up disappointed.others in your company who may want the same position you want . Rather than accept things as they are. If you prove that you're interested in improving organizational performance and that you can come up with some original ideas. find ways to work around them.35 Get Innovative To prepare for a promotion. is a great benefit. Talk to people who hold the kinds of positions and levels of authority that you want. faster.it's often adding something of value as well. and getting noticed for your ability to inspire and motivate.
Seek advice on how to prepare for that role. and then proactively work to achieve it. though. you can create the path to the position that you want. If you aren't ready yet. Ask for the promotion when it becomes available. As you execute your promotion plan. find out what experience and skills are needed to get that job. increase your value to the organization. Understand what drives your company's success. and communicate your promotion goals to others. let others who have influence over the decision know what you're doing. Let as many people as appropriate know what type of role interests you.36 Communicate Your Desire Doing all of the above will likely be met with great appreciation. take on more of the right responsibilities. Work with your boss to set performance objectives so that you can achieve the necessary skills and experience. and even being the best at what you do. To prepare for promotion. You have to be your own best champion: Preparing for a promotion is no time to be quiet and shy. Be smart about the type of value opportunities that you create. Get the Recognition You Deserve . use this as an opportunity to develop the skills you need. Let people know what you want. Using your knowledge of the organization. Network with people in the company. By being proactive. You need many people to know what you're capable of and what you want. expand your skill set. Key Points Earning a promotion is partly within your control. Here are some steps you can take to make your wishes known: • • • • • Identify a role or position toward which you want to work. Simply doing what's expected of you. are not guarantees of advancement. That won't guarantee a promotion.
So. Boasting of your own accomplishments can feel awkward. people often just want simple praise. There are many types of recognition. You'd think that by doing all of this. she forgets to show any gratitude to her stars. so decide what type you want. Make a list of the accomplishments you'd like to discuss. That's why you sometimes have to take matters into your own hands. you might forget something important that you've done. or a cold. However. but also share credit where credit is due. if you're a bit nervous. hard check doesn't always communicate that. there is a way to do this. . and as a result. certificates. An "Employee of the Month" certificate. Do you want a simple "thank you"? An award ceremony in your honor? A raise? Step Two: Define Why You Deserve Praise Don't walk into your boss's office with no advance preparation to say what a great job you've been doing. or if you can handle that huge-but-fascinating project? Things don't have to be like that. and you don't point it out to him or her. Then. then what happens when you ask for a raise? How will he or she know you're ready for that promotion. You might forget the help a co-worker gave you. Beside each one. you would. it would seem odd. We'll show you how to get the recognition you deserve without looking like you're seeking attention.and to top it all off. and never show up late . Have you ever been in a situation like this? Working hard and getting ignored by your boss can be rough. Unfortunately. never miss deadlines.37 Learning how to get praise Imagine this: You stay late at work. consistently win accounts that your co-workers only dream of. But look at it this way: If your boss doesn't notice your hard work. at least once in a while. list the value that accomplishment has brought to the company. you wish. Why? Firstly. and leaving out that person could speak poorly of your character. what exactly are you looking for? It's important to really define this. or bonuses. Believe it or not. Step One: Decide What You Want Companies often thank staff with awards. Be sure to make yourself look good. you finish even your worst projects successfully and ahead of schedule. because everyone wants something different. That includes you. get thanks and recognition from management? Well. We want to know that our work is meaningful and that we've made a difference. your boss is busy dealing with a "problem" member of the team.
If this feels a little too much like bragging. If you appear insincere. and all the really great ones seem to be ignored. perhaps all the problem behaviors get noticed. For example. and you don't even realize it. then do it carefully and tactfully . then say it. and your boss only quickly glanced at it before passing it on to be copied. For example. let's say you spent hours writing the annual message to shareholders. then people may notice. Keep the focus off yourself. and you may look bad. Yes. • . then you may have to do something bold to get management's attention. If so. By bringing their hard work and accomplishments to your boss's attention. If you tell your boss directly. As you talk. Tell your boss honestly how members of the team need some recognition. however.in a private area. and help your boss understand how everyone would be more motivated if they just got a little praise now and then. a "thank you" for a job well done is nice. but don't speak up if you don't really mean it. If you have something good to say. These little "progress reports" keep your actions in the open in a delicate. or when you're finally able to please your company's worst customer. You know your boss and your business environment. not-too-obvious way. emphasize how you had help and how your co-workers should be rewarded for their hard work as well. You can also praise others in front of your boss. she may also notice the great job that you've been doing. consider that her actions may really say that she trusts you to do top-notch work. then think of ways to let your boss know what you're doing without being so obvious or bold. You know that list of accomplishments you just created? Read that over a few times before your meeting. so think of ways to let your boss know how hard you've been working.38 Step Three: Praise Yourself This is where you've got to get creative. send your boss an email every time you win a new account.he or she may be praising you. but this kind of trust is also a compliment. and she doesn't have read every line to know you've done a great job. Keep it genuine and honest. Before you get upset. A Few Tips • Look closely at your boss's actions . In your work environment.
you should steadily earn your own praise as well Living with a Lack of Job Security Coping with uncertainty Some of the people you know may have only had a few jobs . and consider copying that email to his or her boss. having grown up at a time where company loyalty and hard work provided a steady career and a comfortable . When you recognize the efforts of your team. Whenever someone does something that's earned a heartfelt "thanks. If your boss doesn't see the great work you've been doing. your boss has to know what you've already done. they're likely to be older than 50. Send him or her an email when she's made a difference in your day. send them emails praising their efforts. keep your eyes open for activities and co-workers that deserve praise. you might harm yourself if you don't speak up. Think of subtle ways to get your boss's attention by talking privately. and praising your teammates when he or she is around to hear it. Even if you keep the focus off yourself. It's up to you to prove that you can handle the added responsibility ." send that person an email and copy it to your boss. This can show your boss that you're leading by example.or even one job .and to do that. he or she might give that promotion or special project to someone else without knowing any better. Apply This to Your Life: Ready to put this into action? Here are some easy ways to use this tool in your life right now: • • • Begin by recognizing the accomplishments of others. Don't forget that your boss might need some praise and recognition too. If so. These are just a few ways you can "raise the bar" in your workplace to get other people thinking about praise and recognition.in their lives. it may get him or her to notice what you've been doing as well. If you notice co-workers doing something great. and they're not working for the government. sending emails about small accomplishments. If you're a team leader.39 Key Points Although not everyone is comfortable talking about their accomplishments. and send copies to your boss.
We'll show you what you can do now to deal with the feeling of a lack of job security. It's important to realize that not everyone reacts the same way to job insecurity. never making the break to search for something better. Your home life.40 pension. So. be prepared. recession and even natural disaster. think "outside the box. so don't expect yourself to feel or react like they do: they'll manage stress their own way. People entering the workforce within the past few years may have more than 10 different jobs before they retire. and keeping stress away. This is why it's so important to keep your skills relevant and up-to-date. As a result of globalization.and how can you prove that you could learn a new line of work? Look at your track record of being adaptable. So. and learning how to cope is essential to being happy. These days. another one opens. and never having a reason to fear layoffs. If you're a good worker with marketable skills." Living with uncertainty can be uncomfortable. team management. and the chance to do something new. downsizing. Next. read our Book Insight on "Career Intelligence" by Barbara Moses. Here. Some studies suggest that living with job insecurity . keeping a positive attitude can make all the difference! If you're stressed about your career. If your lack of job security is due to a drop in demand for your technical skills. outsourcing. but you can control how you look at it. contracting. the technical skills you need can change quickly.can be more harmful to your health than actually losing it. It's impossible to know what the future will bring.the "fear" of losing your job . however. Coping with Stress Living with constant insecurity can be stressful. For more information. learn how to handle the psychological pressure and stress. your organizational skills (time management. willingness to adapt to change. "job security" can seem like a thing of the past. In today's job market. how do you deal with this uncertainty? First. so preparing in advance can help reduce your worries. develop your nontechnical skills as well. They might have spent 20 or 30 years with the same company. The lack of job security that goes with this is something that almost everyone must face at one time or another. then you have a lot to offer other potential employers if you get laid off. because you'll know you've done all you can. It can be an adventure. try some of these tips: • Remember the saying "Whenever one door closes. and financial situation are much different from those of your colleagues. the world is much different. and your people skills. and leadership). and use this site to build solid career skills." What else can you do . • • .
or the person who's willing to take on extra work and always has something positive to say? If you face uncertainty in your field. or what you're capable of doing. You'll have to do more than "just the minimum" if you want to keep your job. and it's within your power to change it. This can create negativity and hurt morale. Communicating and expressing frustrations are important. It's your life. This kind of commitment can help to set you apart from the crowd. Look for lateral transfers within your company. make sure you give value to your company. • Prove Your Worth If you were your boss. who would you lay off: the person who leaves at 5:01 pm each day and complains all the time. but focus on what you can all do to move forward and cope. leadership techniques. If you're part of a team (or if you're leading a team). Be PROactive instead of REactive. Be willing to stay late to finish a project. So. allow everyone to voice their fears. For more on how to brag about yourself (without being viewed as arrogant or overconfident). but don't let these fears dominate the group. Remember." then take control and act. Help another team member who's falling behind. to a different department or even a different branch.no matter what job you're doing. "Brag" About Yourself Many people resist talking about their accomplishments because they don't want to boast. read Getting the Recognition You Deserve. think about taking classes that would benefit your role in any company. if you don't tell her. and office organization can help you anywhere . . Start learning about other departments. Make sure you're up to date on your industry's certifications and trends. Take outside classes and read trade publications. perhaps your skills would allow you to do something completely different within the organization.41 • Stress can result from a feeling that you don't have control over your situation. you keep him or her informed of your value. Stay Current Keeping your skills current is essential if you want to offer value to your company. But think of it this way: your boss may not know how great you are. have an open discussion. so that you know what's going on in your field. and you were forced to eliminate one position. you ALWAYS have control. Do things to show your boss that you love your job and you'll do what it takes to help the company succeed. Skills like effective time management. If you're afraid that you might get "downsized. By talking about your accomplishments. Also.
and put yourself onto a new. if you are laid off. even if it's not the right match. not just those who are actively looking for work (or afraid they might be soon). This alone can convince people to accept the first job offer they receive. And save some money. you might forget an important accomplishment that could mean winning . If you wait until the last minute. Save Your Money Few things are more stressful than wondering how you'll pay your bills if you suddenly lose your job. Take control by ensuring that your company knows how great you are. Preparing yourself for change is a great way to feel better about the situation. Changing your mindset can go a long way toward reducing your stress. exciting path.42 Keep Your Résumé Up to Date This is smart for everyone to do. But it doesn't have to be stressful and negative. This can help you turn a bad situation into a chance to reevaluate your career. Look at this change as an adventure and as the chance to try something new. remember that the world is full of opportunities. your life is what you make of it! .or losing . living with job insecurity is a reality for many. you can be ready at a moment's notice to apply for a new position even one within your own company. Focus on the positive. When your résumé is current. You won't have to rush to make changes (and risk making mistakes). It can also give you the resources you need to look further afield. and invest time in keeping your skills up to date. If you do get laid off.the job. Key Points In today's business world. not on doubt and uncertainty. Remember. so you don't have to worry about paying your bills if you do lose your job. if work dries up in your area. and you can be sure to present yourself in the very best light. Save at least three to six months of living expenses .this can help you take the time you need to find the best opportunity.
Also. however it can be a profoundly unhappy and stressful experience. Depression 5. Bargaining 4. or spend a long time in one stage and move quickly through the next one. Workers who have more responsibilities might take longer to move to the acceptance stage. simply because more stress is involved. Sure. the more you know. your age and life situation might partly determine how long you spend in each stage. it finally happened.43 Life after Job Loss Coping with the emotional turmoil So. and think about what you can do to cope with each one. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross identified five different stages of grief that people go through when mourning the death of a loved one. it helps to know what to expect in the weeks and months ahead. 3. the better equipped you'll be to handle the ups and downs that you're likely to face. Acceptance. and it can help to think in terms of Kübler-Ross's stages. Not everyone experiences each stage the same way. You might skip a stage. or whether you experience a certain stage at all. Let's look at the stages in more detail. 2. Given the intensity of the stress you're likely to be experiencing right now. Denial. A younger worker with no mortgage payments and no children may experience denial and self-criticism. or in the same time frame. • Stage One: Denial . but then skip directly to acceptance. The Five Stages of Loss In a famous piece of research. All of the headlines and statistics about the current economic crisis have become personal: you've been laid off. losing a job may not be quite as upsetting as this. After all. Anger. These are: 1.
To cope with denial. you might begin to feel very angry – angry at yourself. Don't pretend that you're just on an unexpected vacation or – worse – put your business suit on and catch the train as usual in the morning. and even unjust or wrong things do happen. especially for the people around you. and make you feel worse. this is likely to be more practical. or even a counselor. your company. but spend your day in a library or coffee shop with a newspaper. your boss. • Stage Three: Bargaining After your anger has burned itself out. and that you have to live with them. This doesn't mean that you should start kicking and screaming. . Hurting the people you love will push them away. you have to open your mind to the fact that that bad. • Stage Two: Anger Once you're past the initial shock of losing your job. In Kübler-Ross's original model. try to express your emotions in a healthy way. or seek counseling. To cope.44 If you're thinking things like "I can't believe I've lost my job" or you think that this is all a silly administrative mistake that can be fixed. or the economy in general. If your anger causes you to treat others badly. surely you deserve better than this? You might become angry at family and friends as well. Talk with family and friends. then you're in Stage One. use anger management techniques. if you've worked hard and "given your all". you might start bargaining with yourself or your organization in the hope that your job loss is somehow reversible. This may give you the outlet you need to move past your feelings of anger. After all. This can be one of the most difficult stages. This is only prolonging the process of getting over what has happened. this reflected a form of subconscious bargaining with a higher power: "I just want to live to see my daughter married…" In the case of job loss.
learn from the experience. Helping others can be very healing. and that's an important step because it shows your finally coming to terms with what happened. Straddling them both will get you nothing but a miserable drop into the ocean. "It's the hallway in between those doors that's torture. but consider that something better might be out there waiting for you. You might offer to work part-time." Once you realize that your anger and bargaining tactics aren't working to get your job back. You're grieving for your lost job. Remember." But. if it was your fault.45 For instance. but is something that can be painful and lingering if left untreated. Bargaining is almost always futile. and move on. . Warning: If you're experiencing significant or persistent unhappiness at this or any other stage. your job right now is to find another job. you might slip into a state of depression. • Stage Four: Depression As the old cliché says. as someone else also said. and it could give you a sense of control in your life. or train any new hires that come through the door. be aware of what you're doing. you've got one foot on the ship and one foot on the dock. This is also a great time to volunteer for an organization that you care about. or reduced benefits. Depression is something that can be dealt with quickly and effectively if detected. You can call it fate or destiny. you might go back to your boss and offer to work for less money. Put your energy into moving forward. You just have to be willing to find it! Start doing something productive. To cope with this stage. seek the advice of an appropriately qualified medical practitioner. forgive yourself. another one opens somewhere. Picture it like trying to board a ship that's setting sail. "Whenever one door closes. Depression is the beginning stage of acceptance. Or. So what can you do to cope? Accept that losing your job wasn't your fault.
an invisible barrier seems to stop you from proceeding. you've learned from it. It was very hard.yet. incredible. Tip: Now that you no longer have a boss to manage your performance. And the best news? You've faced the difficulties of losing a job. or go through all five: everyone is different. or if it was your fault. you might skip some stages. despite your best effort. then seek help so you can move forward. the glass ceiling was a concept applied to women and some minorities. If you feel like you're stuck in one particular stage and can't move past it. if not impossible. Key Points Losing a job can be emotionally upsetting and overwhelming. Traditionally. Assess your work skills and also how you're doing at looking for another job. You're a talented. Again. Talk about your emotions. exciting person with a lot to offer in your next job. do something productive. you've hit what's known as the "glass ceiling. for them to reach . anger.46 • Stage Five: Acceptance You've finally realized the truth: the layoff wasn't your fault. give yourself a performance appraisal at regular intervals. There's no set time limit for any of these stages. Many experts agree that people go through five stages of loss or grief. similar to what we experience at the death of a loved one: denial. Give yourself time to work through each stage. bargaining. is there a limit for "people like you" in your organization? If so. depression and acceptance." This is the point at which you can clearly see the next level of promotion . and keep moving forward. and you're stronger because of it. Breaking the Glass Ceiling Reaching for the Top with Everyday Tools Do you feel that you've gone as far as you can with your current employer? Despite knowing that you have much more potential.
or you can smash the glass with purpose and determination. with a reputation for avoiding risk and making careful decisions. Have you been pushed up against a glass ceiling? This can happen for many different reasons. risk takers.47 upper management positions. you have a choice. indeed. if you work for a conservative company (such as a publicly owned utility) chances are that top management are analytical thinkers. Companies that value innovation and strive to be leaders will probably promote individuals who are outgoing. . If you do. and not afraid to "tell it like it is. You can accept your situation and be happy with looking up and not being able to touch what you see. Identify the Key Competencies within Your Organization Key competencies are the common skills and attributes of the people in your company's upper levels. Are you too much the champion of change? Do you have difficulty communicating your ideas? Are you quieter and less outgoing than the people who get promotions? Whatever the reason. Today." However. These skills are often tied closely to the organization's culture and vision. Ask yourself these questions: • • • What are the values of your organization? What behaviors does your company value and reward? What type of person is promoted? Understand what sets your company and its leaders apart. there are many more women and minorities in powerful positions. the glass ceiling is still very real. here are some steps to take. And it's not always limited to gender or race. This is the first step toward discovering how to position yourself for a top leadership role. However. want to break through that glass. No matter how qualified or experienced. they simply were not given opportunities to further advance their careers.
For example. Each of these is complex. read Core Competence Analysis and Deal and Kennedy's Cultural Model. Communication skills will help you. This can be discouraging if it doesn't happen. and attributes. skills. Remember to concentrate on areas of your performance that you can improve. no matter what job title you have. set a goal to consistently demonstrate assertive and clear communication. If you achieve that goal. Mind Tools has an excellent collection of articles on Leadership Skills. Ask your boss what skill areas you need to develop. Don't set a goal to achieve a certain position by a certain time. You may also want to consider taking the Mind Tools How to Lead course. Build Your Network You should also build relationships with other people in your organization. because it probably won't be handed to you. regardless of the level you want to reach in your career. you've succeeded! See Personal Goal Setting for more ideas on how to define motivating goals. Be proactive and go after what you want. You're responsible for determining your own career direction. You never know who may be in a position to help you or . and learn to use as many of these tools as possible.48 To further clarify these ideas. • Read everything you can about leadership styles. Do the following: • • • Let your boss know that you want to work toward a higher-level position. set goals to get there. Two universal competencies for top management are effective leadership and effective communication. then monitor and measure your performance. • Set Objectives to Align Your Competencies with Top Management Once you know your target. Start with the introduction to communication skills. Work together with your boss to set goals and objectives.
However. and old ideas are often long established at the top of many organizations.49 provide you with valuable information. It's important to network in all areas and levels of your company. While "politicking" is often seen as negative. Use the climate in your organization to your advantage. Expand your professional network outside of your organization. Past practices. you can help your career by understanding and using the political networks in your company. biases and stereotypes. to be effective and actually make it to the top. Try these tips: • • • Reach out to new people on a regular basis. A mentor can also be a great source of ideas for your professional development and growth. Many people tend to think it's best to make friends at the top. The barriers that you face have likely been there for a long time. Ask yourself these questions: • • • Is there someone in upper management you can approach to help you? Will your boss be able to provide mentoring support? Are there people with strong political power who can offer you assistance? Read Finding a Mentor for details on what to look for in a mentor . Get involved with cross-functional teams. Is upper management reluctant to work with certain types of individuals? Do they exclude certain people from important communications? A mentor can help you learn how to get connected to the information and people who can help you. you may have to look elsewhere for opportunities. If you can't break the glass ceiling in your company. Find a Mentor Having a mentor is a powerful way to break through the glass ceiling. you'll need the support of colleagues at other levels as well. Read more about Professional Networking.
50 and ideas on how to find one. Make sure that what they see is you! Follow these guidelines: • • • • Seek high-profile projects. Develop your skills and network with people so that your name becomes associated with top management potential. see What's Your Reputation? Know Your Rights Finally. Remember. Know that you're doing everything right. You want people to see your competence. and develop plans to change them. the way to get ahead is to get noticed. while you can see up. Mind Tools' article on Avoiding Discrimination shows you how to protect yourself if you face this regrettable situation. Key Points To get ahead and reach the leadership level you want. communication skills. watch for discriminatory behavior. you need to build a reputation as the kind of person who fits the description of top management. Sometimes biases and stereotyping can cross the line into discrimination. For more tips on building the right kind of reputation. Speak up and contribute in meetings. you need to champion and market yourself. and any other competencies that are typical of people at the top. Build Your Reputation Ultimately. Share ideas with peers as well as people in higher positions. That means proactively managing every . Identify places where your reputation is not what you want it to be. To do this. and arm yourself with a good understanding of your rights regarding official company policies and local laws. Visibility is very important. those at the top can see down. It's unfortunate for both you and your organization when situations like this occur. Don't just accept frustration and failure. leadership abilities. technical knowledge.
and you may find new zones of opportunity. and potentially change the direction of your . Apply some of the ideas in this article.51 step of your career. • Getting a New Boss Starting an important new relationship in a positive way You may not have asked for it.this is a sign of strength. So. We can't all be exactly the type of upper management person our company wants. or anyone in your organization. like it or not. Apply This to Your Life If you're frustrated with your career advancement. and monitor your progress. not weakness. If you can't seem to break through a glass ceiling. but most people don't succeed all on their own. who can help you change that? We all need to make our own success. You can then build and showcase the skills that will help you climb the corporate ladder. hopefully. a mentor. now is the time to make one! Does your boss. and a new boss is arriving to take his or her place. The ceiling won't be removed unless you do something about it. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. What we can do is develop the skills that the company values. and. Ask for support and assistance . Yet. You probably didn't plan for it. What areas for skill development have been pointed out to you in the past? Are you making improvements? Are you facing a glass ceiling? Recognizing that the ceiling exists is the first step. Arm yourself with a development plan as well as the help of your boss. a strong network. consider the following: • • • • Do you have a career plan in place? If you don't. Do you feel alone and unsupported in your career goals? If so. what's going to happen now? Does this mean that you'll also have to change your job? Or is this a good opportunity to make a great first impression. your old boss is leaving. you might have to work harder than others. know what your goals are? Unless people know what you want. they may keep you in the same position and assume you're happy there.
But you also need to know how and when to act. and prove yourself. The situation has now changed: if you simply keep doing what you did before. Your new boss understands that he or she doesn't really know the work you do. you'll discover what's usually important for new bosses. However. This can lead to three possibilities: 1. 2. but doesn't. in this case. However. you are also new to your new boss. during which you'll both "settle in" and get used to each other. your new boss may be the ‘new hire'. Or your new boss may have had a similar position in another company – or even an entirely different role. So. you're not facing reality. a new boss will likely have different opinions. This person needs your help. Who's Really the "New Hire"? In some cases. Whether or not you worked well with your old boss is no longer relevant. but doesn't know . Your New Boss's Background Your new boss may come from one of many different backgrounds. and you have to be supportive. In this article. It's up to you to build a relationship with your new boss. and you'll learn how to make a positive and appreciated contribution that's good for both of you. it's similar to when you first started your current job – you have to work to make a positive impression. and expect to experience a three-month adjustment period. is nothing. as well as which problems to avoid. Things will likely be different. You don't want to overwhelm – or underwhelm – your new boss.52 career? Many people in this situation limit their thinking to what has changed about themselves – which. so the boss may look to you for help. You need to accept that this really is a new opportunity to make a first impression (this is one of the rare times that this possibility exists). and even a different management style. different policies. He or she may have been promoted from within the team or from elsewhere in the organization. In many ways. There's a proper balance that you can find. so expect to change the way you work. Your new boss thinks he or she knows what you do.
but your boss has several relationships to manage with all team members. Remember that your boss is also a "gatekeeper. your relationship needs to be a top priority for you. "Sucking up" may bother your boss as well as your colleagues. If you do either of these. because she did your job before you got there. Your goal is to educate tactfully. You have one relationship to manage with your boss. On the other hand. However. Perhaps your old boss knew exactly what to do in all situations. Our article Managing Your Boss discusses these situations as well as how to make adjustments for a boss's weaknesses that you may discover as the 90-day settling-in period continues. this doesn't necessarily mean that you'll interact with this person the same way you did with your old boss. this can be a significant opportunity for you to accept a new level of autonomy and responsibility – and get great career experience! Making the Relationship Work An important step in managing the relationship with your new boss is to accept it.53 it. . (If you were competing for the job. so you can focus on the other aspects of building your working relationship. and particularly if your new boss is an ex-colleague. He or she may not have detailed knowledge that you can use to check your work. perhaps. yourself). and you have to work with this new person. don't sulk about not getting the job yourself. Offer your help. Your new boss knows what you do. and then assess how your new boss reacts to your help: this will help you strengthen the relationship. and don't be disrespectful towards your new boss." with the ability to allow you – or deny you – access to a number of things that can impact your job satisfaction. you're setting yourself up for conflict and failure. 3. or may not be able to offer advice on specific topics (this can be particularly true if you have a technical role). and sufficiently. Even if your new boss knows what you do. you must face the reality that your company made a choice.) Some parts of this situation don't apply equally. Tip: Be helpful. but don't appear too eager. Whatever you might have thought about other candidates for the job (including. considerately. But your new boss may have a more general management background.
because this will help confirm to upper management that they made the right hiring choice.. Now What? covers this in detail.and it may therefore show you how you can make a positive impact: • Building competence and learning the new role: This includes dealing with information overload and creating a learning plan. • Determine how your boss views the current situation: Find out how your new boss sees things. does your new boss think that the objective is to maintain a currently strong position or turn around declining performance? You may not agree on every point. but we've summarized some of the information here. Use common sense. These conversations can range from informal chats at the coffee machine to formal meetings in your boss's office or elsewhere. For example. and linking tangible results with longer-term business goals. • • Necessary Conversations with Your New Boss Here's a checklist of what you and your new boss should understand and agree upon as you get to know each other. individual preferences.54 Helping Your New Boss Succeed Your new boss will likely target several goals during the early weeks and months. Learn what your boss's expectations are: What does your new boss want from you now and in the longer-term future? How will your success be measured? If you understand what will help your new boss succeed (see above). Creating quick wins to establish credibility: Credibility also means focusing on results that are important to the new boss's boss. this will help you relate to his or her expectations. This is what your new boss is likely to be thinking . and mutual availability as your guiding factors. Figure out your boss's working style: What you do • • . but also figuring out who the key players are.. Learning about and understanding the team members: This means not only getting to know them. while making sure that what's asked of you is still realistic. Our workbook Congratulations on Your New Role. but at least you'll know.